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future parc: ICT innovations for the world of tomorrow

Date: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 15:28

future parc: ICT innovations for the world of tomorrow
Self-learning robots, silent speech, 3D Internet - CeBIT 2010, running in Hall 9, highlights ICT innovations for the world of tomorrow 
The "future parc" displays cover almost the entire spectrum of current developments in the digital sector. Research institutions, universities and special show-within-a-show events present many different aspects of "connected worlds," introducing visitors to the practical reality of these revolutionary technologies. 
Movement training extends working life of humanoid robots
Humanoid robots are subject to wear and tear, just like the humans they are modeled on. Where robots differ from their human counterparts is that less training actually means longer life. In other words, the number of robot training steps for learning a new movement should be kept to a minimum. The IT, Mathematics and Natural Sciences Faculty of the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences has given humanoid robots the ability to learn movements for themselves, which also speeds up the training process. At the "future parc" pavilion, the Leipzig researchers is showing how optimized programming can give these robots sophisticated movement skills, using currently available architecture-specific sensor technology. The robots are now able to teach themselves a new movement within a matter of days. 
Read my lips - KIT develops silent communication technology
Imagine being able to speak without making a sound, but still being clearly understood. This would be an ideal solution for people who have lost their voice as the result of a larynx disorder, or do not have the strength to speak aloud. Other possible applications include making silent phone calls without disturbing others in the room, confidential communications with no risk of eavesdropping, and the ability to communicate in noisy environments. The Cognitive Systems Laboratory of the Institute for Anthropomatics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is currently working on such a process. The technology is based on the principle of electromyography, or the capture and recording of electrical voltage signals created by the contraction of muscles during speaking. The idea is to recognize the movements of the human articulation apparatus and translate them into speech. 
Catching the wave - surfing the Web in 3D
3D worlds is one of the hot topics at CeBIT 2010. The two-dimensional experience of surfing online is about to be transformed into a 3D process of total immersion in a virtual environment. Consumers buying clothes online will be able to try their new outfit on then and there in the online shop, and check out the permutations and combinations with their existing wardrobe. The "future parc" display run by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the Intel Visual Computing Institute of Saarland University showcases XML3D, a technology that adds 3D capability to the HTML Internet format. XML3D is set to open up unprecedented application options and new markets. The benefits will not be limited to Web surfers: the new technology also has industrial applications, for example by simplifying the collaborative engineering of 3D products - where collaboration on development projects takes place online via networks. 
A new kind of living environment - comprehensive home networking
Systems for networking and controlling multiple household appliances, from many different manufacturers, is the subject of the "future parc" exhibition presented by the Connected Living Innovation Center, created by AOK, Deutsche Telekom, Dr. Riedel Automatisierungstechnik, EnBW, Loewe, MergSystems, MSR-Office, Orga Systems, the DAI laboratory at Berlin Technical University and Vattenfall. Spanning 400 square meters (4,300 sq. ft) of display space, the exhibition is demonstrating how many different makes of device will interact in the homes of tomorrow - in the kitchen, living room and fitness room. The aim is to enhance the quality of life for the residents. For example, energy assistants will reduce heating and electricity costs, digital kitchen assistants will help with preparing meals, and health assistants will be on hand to put together customized fitness programs. The Connected Living Innovation Center works closely with the BITKOM association of German high-tech companies.
A computer to anticipate your every need - using lexicographic methods
As well as poring over the works of Kant and Hegel, the Faculty of Philosophy at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena is also working hard on ways to optimize language-based IT applications. At the "future parc" pavilion at CeBIT 2010, the Indo-European Studies department is presenting its ForMat project, in cooperation with the Business Information Systems department. Lexicographical methods are used to analyze the words of the German language according to defined target groups, and linguists then enter the results in a database. The resulting interlinked vocabularies will map the reality of the language today, as the basis for creating specialized dictionaries, for example, or to assist with other language-related tasks such as translation, comprehension, text drafting or creating text modules for search functions.
IT saving lives - the "SpeedUp" project gets information through to search and rescue teams
Another display at the "future parc" pavilion at CeBIT 2010 is showing visitors how IT will soon be able to help save lives. "SpeedUp," a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of its "Research for Civil Security" program, provides a support platform for search and rescue missions. The platform is based on research results from the Technical University of Munich and the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, and also draws on the expertise of industry partners from the e-government, navigation and tracking, indoor positioning and mobile solution sectors. "SpeedUp" coordinates the deployment of search and rescue teams, and links the data with geographical information. 
"Smart meter" for efficient electricity use
One of the effects from the increased use of solar and wind energy is constant changes in the electricity supply situation, at shorter and shorter intervals of time. The flipside of this is that energy users now need to manage their energy demand to ensure it coincides with periods of high supply and hence low prices. A project by the Fraunhofer Research Society can help them to do just this. At the "future parc," researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE) is showcasing their "smart meters" - intelligent devices for measuring and managing power consumption. For example, this technology helps consumers to use refrigerators or freezers as energy storage devices. The technology anticipates tariff increases and cools the food down rapidly so that the refrigerator or freezer can then be powered down for a lengthy period once the tariff increase is effective. This process should also be viable for heating and hot water appliances. 
Football meets brain power - QuizCamp Bundesliga for iPhone and iPod 
There are a dose of fun, excitement and competition at the "future parc" at CeBIT 2010, thanks to the Jena-based technology provider the agent factory GmbH and Munich media company SPORTS MEDIA NETWORK GmbH & Co. KG. Their QuizCamp Bundesliga application for iPhone and iPod Touch lets football fans go head to head, pitting their knowledge of all aspects of the "beautiful game" live against all comers. The application contains more than 200,000 questions, updated daily with the latest events.
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